Publisher: G. Schirmer
The Light of the End (2003)
Available in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America only
Schirmer Russian Music
The name of the composition derives from the bright sound of the antique cymbals that bring the coda of this piece to a close. But despite such an optimistic title, the overall sense of the composition is dramatic. The drama is caused by the conflict between the intrinsic character of instruments – brass instruments in particular – to produce the sounds of the natural overtone row and the necessity of adapting them to the sounds of 12-tone tempered tuning.
For some time I have experience this conflict as my own drama: the incompatibility, in principle, of these intrinsic qualities with real-life circumstances in which nature neutralized. Sooner or later, this pain had to be manifested in some composition.
The conflict in this piece arises between a theme consisting exclusively of sounds from the natural overtone row theme that uses the 12-tone tempered scale.
The duet of French horn and cello before the central expressive tutti sounds especially antagonistic: the horn and cello play one and the same melody in different tunings, the natural and tempered. Great dissonance.
The piece concludes with the removal of this dissonance – as if by tonic – in which the contrasts are resolved. The chromatic glissandi of the strings remove the fundamental conflict; these sounds are contained both in the natural overtone scale and in the tempered system.